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Upcoming: Expo West 2014, [Anaheim, California]

Natural Products Expo West is always the talk of the town—even during the Fancy Food Show here in New York. I figured 2014 was as good a year as any to fly out and discover why Expo West is everyone’s favorite show.

Is it the crazy list of events one can take part in (sometimes for no additional cost) through the March 6-9 food show, such as yoga classes, guided herb walks, innovation summits, networking events, and concerts? Or is it the 3,000+ exhibitors (the Fancy Food show, in comparison, has 2,400) that fill the Anaheim Convention Center? Perhaps it’s the fact that it’s natural foods and it’s California…and like the happy cows ad, everyone in California is just plain happy.

Having attended food shows only in the eastern part of the USA, ETR food videographer and photographer partner Vic and I are looking forward to the different view on healthy foods, the education sessions and seminars, and an all-new atmosphere. My west coast ETR partner and I are greatly looking forward to seeing what all the hullabaloo is about, so I’m west coast-bound in two weeks to report on innovative new products, west coast and national trends, and foods that are just plane delicious. See you there!


Natural Products Expo West 2014

Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, California

Exhibition halls open March 7-9

Education & Events start March 6

Friday, March 7: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Saturday, March 8: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Sunday, March 9: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

See a partial calendar of events here.




Upcoming: C-CAP's Annual Benefit 2014

The C-CAP Annual Benefit of 2014 is just a few weeks away! With dozens of talented chefs including Daniel Boulud, William Telepan, Sarabeth Levine, and plenty more, the unlimited small plates being offered at this delicious gala will make for a memorable night. Renowned chef Michael White is the night’s honoree, and wonderful television personality and chef Andrew Zimmern will be the speaker of the house.

Profits from this March 4th benefit will go to help inner city teens across the country learn professional culinary skills and discipline. Many go on to earn scholarships to the CIA and other prestigious culinary schools, and quite a few end up becoming professional chefs. A handful of those now-established chefs will be representing their own restaurants for the night, and young C-CAP chefs-in-training assist every chef on the floor.

This is absolutely my favorite benefit of the year, and while the silent auction, food, and drinks are decidedly terrific, knowing that you’re helping the next generation is even better.


The C-CAP Annual Benefit 2014 is Tuesday, March 4th, 2013.

Pier Sixty, Chelsea Piers, NYC, from 5:45-9PM. Each guest receives a gift bag, and VIP guests will receive a signed book by chef Michael White.

Ticket prices range from $550-$1,000.

A full listing of the benefit details, including chefs represented, can be found at

Tickets can be purchased online here.


Upcoming: The 2014 International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York

In just a few weeks, get ready for the first major NYC food show of the season! This Sunday, March 2, through Tuesday, March 4, is the well-established International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York. For three days there will be [actually interesting] educational seminars; competitions in the pastry, barista, and pizza-twirling departments; and free demonstrations and samples from hundreds of exhibitors.

One of the newer highlights is the press tasting at the U.S. Pastry Competition. You’re given a glass of champagne—though I’d prefer milk—and dozens of cakes to choose from. Eat more than four slices and you must be nuts. It’s best done with a partner so that multiple slices can be chosen and tried. Meanwhile, esteemed pastry chefs from around the world are munching, mumbling, and judging right next to you. Don’t miss it!

An Umami Recipe Contest is also being held in the Japanese Pavilion, where three finalists will compete to win a foodie’s dream trip to Japan. Don’t miss it! With the New Products Gallery, the Wine Expo, a Farm Fresh Pavilion, and noodle soup galore at the Japanese Pavilion, you’ll have a fun day of learning and sampling at this 2014 edition.


Sunday, March 2   10:00 am- 5:00 pm 
Monday, March 3   10:00 am- 5:00 pm  
Tuesday, March 4  10:00 am- 4:00 pm  

Jacob Javits Center

655 West 34th Street
New York, NY 10001

Find more information on this year’s New York International Food & Restaurant Show, visit


Upcoming: Culinary Fight Night NYC 

Buy your tickets for a food fight event at an undisclosed location. Know you'll get a six-course tasting menu, an open bar, and a night of entertainment. Head to a clandestine location the evening of the event, and watch chefs compete live for a judging panel--while cooking for an audience of 80. What is it? Why, it's Culinary Fight Night, of course! 

Culinary Fight Night
 pits two chefs against each other in a live, 3-course, head-to-head battle staged in a regulation-size boxing ring. Each chef has a sous-chef at his side to help cook an appetizer, entrée, and dessert using three secret ingredients. These bonus ingredients range from Lap Xoung (Chinese sausage) to Lucky Charms to cuttlefish ink. It’s never not exciting!

You might say that Culinary Fight Night seems to be copying Chopped, but in fact founder Walt Henderson started CFN in Atlanta many years ago—before Chopped and similar shows existed. Also, this live “show” has the added stress of cooking for a live audience. Downstairs in the kitchen of the restaurant where the event is held, a team of 6-10 more chefs (along with the competing chefs before and in between dishes) are busy preparing mini versions of each dish to serve to an audience of more than 80. As you can imagine, it gets pretty hectic both in the kitchen and on the floor. But what matters most is not what the paying audience members think: It’s what the panel of five judges feel that ultimately determines the winner. Of course, since I get backstage passes to eat all of the food, am I not the winner as well? No, because the real winner gets $1,500 for themselves and $1,500 for a charity of their choice. Winners advance after each round and eventually compete in the March 2014 finals, where one will win $10,000. Not bad, not bad at all. Of course, audience members need to go into this mini eat-a-thon knowing that the dishes are partially experimental. Odd secret ingredients can make for odd dishes, so have an open mouth and mind when signing up.

Culinary Fight Night is incredibly fun, incredibly busy, and incredibly delicious. With 3 preliminary rounds from December and January already completed, only one spot remains for the semi-final round. Hope to see you there!



The last preliminary round will take place in Manhattan on Tuesday, February 18th. The semi-finals start February 24th, and the final is one month later. 

Tickets range from $120-$200 and can be purchased here.


Event Review: The 5th Annual C-CAP Junior Benefit 2013 - A Taste of Fall

On Monday, November 11th, hungry ticket holders flocked into Marcus Samuelsson’s Ginny’s at Red Rooster space to taste gourmet food from C-CAP graduates, enjoy live music, drink at the open bar, and bid on silent auction items throughout the night. It was the C-CAP Junior Benefit, A Taste of Fall.

Every chef presenting at the night’s event was a C-CAP graduate, and it was truly wonderful to see the success of these hardworking young chefs. From smothered meatballs to decadent s’mores cakes, guests ate and drank their fill. In addition, current C-CAP students assisted each chef in preparation and presentation.

The highlight of the night—as well as a meager 4 servings of dessert for me—came from pastry chef Thiago Silva. Kabocha squash cheesecake with concord grape sorbet, pistachio streusel, yuzu curd, and a concord grape blanket. Sound pretentious? It may be, but did it taste incredible! I would never think to pair those ingredients, let alone make such melt-in-your-mouth textures. It was one of the most memorable desserts I’ve ever had, and surely the best dish of the night. A dessert with savory notes that doesn’t taste like a cheese plate. Who knew? Well done, Thiago, well done. No wonder this C-CAP graduate was picked as one of Zagat’s “30 Under 30.”

Sisters Nicole and Alexandra Leavenworth were honored for their dedication to the junior committee. Though the Junior Benefit is delicious, it’s only a teaser for the full-fledged Annual C-CAP Benefit each February/March. Some of the biggest names on the NYC food scene, along with dozens of other chefs, gather to provide incredible small plates for hundreds of attendees. Whether you choose to attend the smaller fall event or the spring blockbuster one, the food, and the purpose, remain amazing.